Sun, Hot Sauce & Bribes
Just 3 days after shooting an indoor tournament at outdoor distances, I was hopping on a plane headed for Guadalajara, Mexico for the Versus tournament. I was excited for my first real test of outdoor shooting this year, but more importantly I was looking forward to shooting my bow in warm weather, without 50 layers on!
I got into Mexico with no issues, no flight delays and all my bags. The next day was practice day, so I got a good nights sleep and was ready to hit the field first thing the next morning. We all hopped on a bus that took us to the field and began to practice. Even though it was still mid morning, the sun was blazing and it felt HOT to those of us from northern climates. I made sure to stay hydrated (placing Nuun tablets in my bottles of water), and shooting as many arrows as I could.
The field we were shooting on was beautiful! Leftover from the PanAm Games, it was a great facility to shoot at. After a full day of practice, we were asked to participate in a “ask the pros” seminar. It was a nice break from the sun and most of us were happy to help. There were some good questions asked, and then it was time to leave the field and grab some dinner.
Because there were so many participants, they ended up changing the schedule to everyone shooting a single line. I was nervous at first, having never shot a single line for ANY tournament I’ve participated in, but wow, did I love this format! Compound women shot over the lunch slot on thursday for our qualification, and it was amazing how quickly a single line moved. We were through our first 36 arrows in just under 45 mins! For me, this was a huge advantage, as you all know by now how much I hate waiting around. Essentially, I shot 6 arrows, had time to grab a drink while the 4 minutes finished up, then it was down to the target and score/pull arrows. I was able to get in a good rhythm and it seemed just like I was in my backyard practicing. I wish more tournaments were able to do a single line!
Half way through and I was in 2nd place (unbeknownst to me) with a 344. I was happy with that score, especially since it wasn’t dead calm and I was having to aim off as the wind changed from left to right direction constantly. We took a break at this point, and unfortunately for me, once we started again I felt out of sync. I knew I was fine, just had to focus on my shot and I would get back in the groove.
Some archers had noticed before we started that we were standing in between bales, as the lines were not drawn square to the target. On the second end after the break, I drew back and thought I was on the wrong bale, so I moved around until I got on my bail/my correct target. At this point, I knew I needed to let down the shot since I hadn’t setup the proper way. I was proud of myself for letting down, since in the past I would have just shot the shot, but on the let down disaster struck. I somehow hit the trigger, causing the shot to fire, missing the bail completely, giving me a 0 for that arrow.
I tried to forget and focus on my next shot, but I shot two 8s (my first all day) that end, knowing my mind wasn’t where it needed to be. I made myself regroup and finished out the rest of that half pretty strong. The damage was already done, as the miss gave me just a 673, placing me in 8th. I wasn’t completely upset, though, when I saw that a 682 (assuming my miss was a 9) would have still ranked me in 2nd.
Next day was the first day of round robins. We were placed in groups of 6 and would shoot against each person once. The two winning the most matches from the group would automatically move on, with the next 12 moving on based on their total scores for the day. I was the #2 seed from my group, but more importantly, I had the third highest overall score on the field, even with one really bad match on my part.
We were again placed in groups of 6 for the next morning’s round robin elimination. Again, I shot great for 5 out of my 6 matches, this time getting the top seed out of my bracket (again the 3rd highest total score on the field). We were then reseeded into 2 brackets of six for the afternoon session. Unlucky for me, all of the top 3 scores ended up in the same bracket, with only 2 allowed to move on to the semi finals.
Through a combination of bad luck and my own worst shooting coming at the worse time, I didn’t make the top 4, even though I had the second highest score out of all the women. I was bummed, but I wasn’t upset, as I was just happy to know I was shooting well for the start of the season. Obviously there were things I learned and things I noticed I could improve on, but I had made great strides from last outdoor season, so I couldn’t complain. After some trouble trying to get out of Mexico, I made it to Arizona for the first USAT qualifier event of the year.